Well, actually don’t completely switch off. This could be the perfect time for you to learn the most. Now could be the time for your greatest development! It is during these times of pause and reflection where we really consider our personal strengths, the things we enjoyed, the things that went well as well as paying recognition to our areas of weakness, the things that didn’t go so well, or didn’t enjoy. Reflection plays a large part in our emotional resilience and helps us grow the most. By spending some careful, considered time reflecting it can really help us think, think about our feelings and link that to our behaviours. See it as pressing the reset button on a tired and misfiring computer.
An exercise we often use on programmes is a simple task called ‘Busy busy’. All we do is take people through their last working week asking a series of guided questions. Here’s one for you to try right now. Without looking at your calendar or diary, ‘What did you do exactly this time last week and what emotions did you associate with it?’ How easy was that? “Last week? I can’t even remember where I was last week, never mind what I was doing or how I was feeling” It can often be surprising, and quite shocking how we can get caught up in the day to day, task to task without stopping to reflect and to learn from it.
Receiving feedback from a tool such as the Healthcare Leadership Model 360 is a vital part of learning about ourselves, and how our leadership behaviour impacts on others. However, without that opportunity to reflect on outcomes, its value can be limited. Reflection is a time to deeply consider what you see as your personal strength and development areas; do these marry up with what others in your feedback report are saying? Reflect on the ‘Importance ratings’; do certain groups consider different dimensions as more important to your role than you do? Could this be an opportunity to change focus, or implement behaviour, engagement or communication strategies? There is also key opportunity to reflect on the impact that you have as a leader, on those you directly manage or lead.
If you’re getting it right, recognise that and think about how you can utilise your strengths, and the things you enjoy more. If there are tweaks, suggestions or developmental feedback, reflect on how you feel about that; does it sit right for you and what could you do to address that? Perhaps key, and one of the main tenets of the Healthcare Leadership Model, is to reflect on your role and how it impacts on patient care. Even if you feel as though you are far removed from actual frontline delivery of care, reflect on how your personal role, and leadership behaviour can play a part in the quality of care a person receives. It will be linked.
Most importantly, reflection is a time to be kind to yourself, focus on your value and self-worth and not get sucked into that blurred ‘busy busy’ state. Enjoy the summer.
By Peter Clarke